Offshore wind has been the go-to for renewable power generation in Northern climates for years. Floating solar is now considered to be the next big thing in energy production and will complement existing installations.
One company that is believed to be the current frontrunner in the race for the world’s largest hybrid offshore floating solar plant is SolarDuck. The company is gearing up to join a massive wind farm off the coast of the Netherlands later this year.
SolarDuck has teamed up with RWE to build the world’s first 5MW demonstration floating PV project with integrated energy storage at the 760MW Hollandse Kust West wind farm and received clearance from the Dutch government as the winner of its latest national tender for wind farms. The project is working on an aggressive timeline and will be operational by 2026.
The SolarDuck system formed a part of the RWE bid, and the Dutch-Norwegian company is now ready to proceed with the North Sea project that it called “a flagship project for SolarDuck” and “an important milestone for the wider offshore floating solar industry.”
RWE and SolarDuck are already working together on a smaller project called “Merganser.” This project will be completed in 2023 in the Belgian city of Ostend.
Typically floating PV panels are found on inland reservoirs and canals, which help cool the water and prevent evaporation and are sheltered from the extreme conditions of the ocean. Now, solar at sea presents new levels of challenge due to the harsh conditions the equipment will face offshore.